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5 Myths & Facts About Time-of-Use Rates

By Ron Gales

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Southern California Edison is preparing to transition 400,000 residential customer accounts to Time-of-Use rate plans next March as part of a statewide initiative.

Beginning in December, SCE will notify customers in this first wave of transitions that they’ve been randomly selected to participate.

Get the facts about TOU rates below, and get your questions about TOU rates answered at "Q&A: Time-of-Use Rate Plan Transitions Begin in 2018."

MYTH: Time-of-Use rates are mandatory and residential customers won’t have a choice.

FACT: Residential customers will have the option to either remain on their current Standard (or “tiered”) rate plan, transition to a specified TOU rate or switch to a different TOU rate offering.

MYTH: SCE is planning to phase out their Standard “tiered” rate plans for residential customers.

FACT: SCE has no plans to phase out Standard “tiered” rate plans. SCE’s goal is to provide customers with choices, and for each customer to find the rate plan that works best for their needs. For many customers, that will continue to be the Standard “tiered” rate plans.

MYTH: TOU rates will result in higher monthly bills for residential customers.

FACT: Some customers will benefit from TOU rates, specifically those customers who use less electricity during On-Peak periods, or are able to shift some or most of their energy usage to the lower-priced Super Off-Peak and Off-Peak time periods (typically occurring weekday mornings and late evenings throughout the year, plus early afternoon during the winter). If not, then the Standard Residential (“tiered”) rate plan may be more beneficial for them.

MYTH: SCE is moving customers to TOU rates in order to make more money.

FACT: SCE does not make a profit on sales of electricity (see “How Southern California Edison Makes Money”). These TOU rates do not change the overall amount of money SCE collects from residential customer bills, but individual customers may see higher or lower bills, especially during different times of the year.

Any customer adversely impacted by this transition will be made whole through a bill protection program (applicable for the first year of their transition). All transitioned customers have the option to return to their original tiered rate at any time, or they can select a different rate that works better for them.

MYTH: Customers on fixed incomes or lower incomes will be negatively impacted by TOU rates.

FACT: SCE customers enrolled in income-qualified bill assistance programs — such as the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs — will continue receiving bill discounts if they choose a TOU rate plan.

In addition, customers enrolled in SCE’s Medical Baseline program will not be switched to TOU rates at any time. Customers who live in “hot zones” as designated by the California Public Utilities Commission, and are enrolled in one of SCE’s income-qualified programs, will also be exempted. 

All remaining residential customers who are eligible to be moved to TOU rate plans will be switched over in late 2020. All customers can choose to return to their original tiered rate at any time, or they can select a different rate that works better for them.

RELATED CONTENT:

SCE Prescribes Outage Preparedness for Medical Baseline Customers
Cool Savings Available to Income-Qualified Customers

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